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tv   ABC World News With Diane Sawyer  ABC  May 24, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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sawierr is next. for sandhya patel and all of us. we'll see you at tonight from joplin, missouri, where thousands and thousands of people are digging out from a savage tornado, the skies signal more tornadoes to come, while the people say they are bowed but unbroken. >> could have lost both of them. >> one boy saved by a mother's intuition, and a bike helmet in a bathtub. and ringing out. that chorus of voices searching for the missing. >> we're trying to find my nephew, his wife and three babies. >> my brother-in-law is missing. >> true grit in one american town. how american families rode out the storm, yes, in bathtubs, closets, even freezers. and what we've learned about the super-charged tornado, a virtual beehive of twisters hidden inside. and we are there tonight as new tornadoes touch down. direct hit, an american tragedy in joplin.
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and good evening from joplin, missouri, tonight. i'm here at st. john's hospital, as you know, decimated by the tornado, the most deadly twister in more than 60 years. and to show you just one measure of the loss, take a look at the picture. this is joplin before. this is joplin after. the twister taking a neighborhood street and turning it into a kind of moon scape, unrecognizable. at this hour, here's what we had the biggest tornado here, an ef-5. at least 122 lives lost. 600 injured. 17 pulled from the wreckage and reports of more than 1,000 may be missing, unaccounted for. as we said, a line of tornadoes seems to be moving in tonight. and several of them are touching down in oklahoma. we are there, we're going to
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show you what that's like tonight, when we check in with our reporter. and our team is spread across the disaster zone. but let's begin right now with the missing and david muir, who heard some pretty stunning stories of survival today. david? >> reporter: you and i have heard the stories of survival in every neighborhood we visited. right down to the 9-year-old boy who knew enough to put on his bike helmet before he dove into the bathtub. but tonight, we are also hearing the stories of the missing. as the storm clouds hover over this battered city, a painful realization -- likely far more missing than anyone knows. still, no official number. and tonight, rescue teams are back -- canvassing neighborhoods. on every street now, you see teams like the one here behind me doing what's called a secondary search. these are firefighters from st. louis going home to home to make sure that there's nobody left inside. actually marking the homes with xs, a sign that they didn't find anyone. >> there are still a lot of people left unaccounted for. >> reporter: do we have any idea how many people are still missing? he simply shakes his head.
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even the mayor acknowledges he has no idea. and there was a different sign spray painted on this pickup truck -- a phone number. a family, looking for a 12-year-old boy, his parents in the hospital. he is still missing. >> he was last seen in a bathtub. we've not been able to locate the bathtub. >> he's about 6'3" -- >> reporter: as we drove through joplin -- >> 150 pounds -- >> reporter: descriptions of the missing on the radio. >> wow. >> reporter: and then, there are the survivors. today, we brought natalie gonzalez back to her home for the first time. she, her boyfriend, and her 9-year-old son survived here. so you were all here huddled in the tub? >> yes. >> reporter: acting on instinct, her 9-year-old boy put on his bicycle helmet. the toilet flew and hit him in the head. he had that helmet on until the twister tore it off. so, he still had the strap, but the helmet had been sucked away? >> ripped off. >> reporter: and then, we found it. >> that's it. >> reporter: is there any question in your mind that the helmet saved your son? >> i know the helmet saved my son. >> reporter: for natalie and her boy, it was the bathtub and the helmet that saved them.
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for so many of the families here, it was that basic instinct to go into survival mode, where to go in this house to survive this. in fact, take a look. a sort of 360-degree view of the neighborhood. you can see every home flattened, every tree severed, and really all the way back in this direction, over the bathtub. it's extraordinary when you think about how many people did survive. >> i believe i was probably right here. >> reporter: and you had to crawl out? >> yeah, i crawled out. >> reporter: at 6'6", steve raced to his tiny closet. in the center of his home. no windows. like so many others that raced to a closet or a bathroom. and it turns out it was that same instinct that helped save those terrified people at that convenience store. we now know about 20 people hid inside a walk-in freezer, its walls nearly ten inches wide, protecting them as the twister shook the store. >> cannot imagine how that little boy knew how to put on a helmet, to think that fast. and in the bathtub, too.
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>> reporter: so many warnings in the last several weeks about tornadoes, he had been watching television with his mother, and heard on tv that children might want to put on bike helmets. when the sirens went off, he raced to the helmet before heading to the bathtub. >> watching tv. >> reporter: really something. >> all right, david. heart-pounding, to think about that. but as we said, despite the sunshine, you can see, right now, the skies are darkening all around us and there is a ferocious storm system about to move in, right here, to joplin, later on tonight. in fact, twisters have been touching down in oklahoma. our matt gutman is there. he linked up with the team from the discovery channel's "storm chasers." they are, of course, part adrenaline and part scientists. matt is in canton, oklahoma. matt, what have you seen? >> reporter: diane, these tornadoes pummeled oklahoma today. >> it is large and in charge, right now, gentlemen. >> reporter: we saw at least three separate twisters. one had multiple vertices. right now, that tornado is picking up everything in that
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field, leaves, pieces of trees. one tornado we saw measured winds of over 150 miles an hour. that one nearly hit canton, oklahoma. sirens wailed, but onlookers still rushed out to the road to try to get a glimpse of it. you can smell fresh cut grass. that's because all of these trees have been torn by that tornado. another town was nearly hit but no sirens there. now, these storm chasers have been hunkering down in their trucks, also barrels down these roads, trying to find the tornadoes. two people were killed after a tornado slammed into a oklahoma city suburb at rush hour. three children also critically hurt. it got so bad, they ran for cover at the national weather center in norman, oklahoma. search and rescue teams are being sent out to hunt for the missing. and forecasters expect additional or the nay domes and certainly more heart-ache. >> okay, matt, thank you for keeping watch throughout this night. i want to bring our weather
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editor in, sam champion. so, we're looking up at the skies, what is coming this way, how bad is it? >> reporter: the storms that are starting tonight are beginning in that zone that matt talked about, and that's all the way from dallas to oklahoma city to wichita. this is where that line will fill out what will be very strong storms that will have big tornadoes, long-running tornadoes in those storms. and they will move north but that line will swing east and take those storms overnight and throughout the morning through this wichita, central missouri area. and by tomorrow, this area will clear out and it will get a little bit more active in eastern missouri and in arkansas. >> they could get another one here? >> reporter: they could definitely get another one here. >> okay. tell me about this giant tornado that hit on sunday. we're reading it was kind of a cluster bomb, a lot of little tornadoes inside? what is that? >> reporter: just in the last five years, we learned so much about tornadoes. how they form, how they move. and one of the things that we've learned is that they may be much more complicated than just the simple cone shape we normally see. a monster tornado, as it forms, and bares down on joplin, missouri. but look closely.
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rather than one funnel, scientists now believe the tornado that hit joplin had several funnels, twisting, almost dancing around each other. it's known as a multiple vortex tornado. >> you have to imagine a large tornado with smaller tornadoes rotating around the central column. it's within these small tornadoes that the worst damage occurs. >> reporter: here is one caught on tape in oklahoma. >> whoa! it's violent. >> reporter: you can see two funnels reaching down to the ground. and another. in fact, scientists speculate as many as 1 in 20 tornadoes have multiple funnels. but often, they're too hard to detect, hidden from sight. that's because the multiple funnels are often deep inside the massive debris field that we see and think is one tornado. but inside that cloud, there may be several funnels spinning violently, whipping up the wind speeds even more, intensifying the destructive force. >> this is where some of the most catastrophic damage occurs
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within a large tornado like we witnessed in recent weeks. >> reporter: and we still have a lot of these storms to go. because, as you know, diane, may is the most active month for tornadoes in the u.s. >> more active than april. we're looking at 1,000? >> reporter: yeah, april was a record-setter. now we have at least 1,000 reported. >> okay, thank you, sam. and president obama, by the way, vowed to stand by the people of joplin until every house here is rebuilt from that last tornado. he's going to visit joplin on sunday, right here in the shadow of the ozarks. it's a stop on the storied route 66. remember the song? listen a minute. ♪ well it goes from st. louis ♪ joplin, missouri ♪ oklahoma city ♪ looks oh so pretty ♪ you'll see >> it is middle america. mickey mantle played ball here. bonnie and clyde, remember those pictures? robbed banks here. and today, when we spoke to the mayor of joplin, he told me, we will rebuild. this town will recover. 48 hours after the tornado, the
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skies are blustery once again, and joplin's mayor, mike woolston, walks with me as people try to dig out. >> these people probably had lost virtually everything that they had and so, just, a tremendous feeling of luck that it wasn't me. >> reporter: but mayor woolston also had a rallying cry, famously tweeted. we read it back to him. "this is just not the type of community that's going to let a little f-4 tornado kick our ass. so, we will rebuild and we will recover." >> sounds accurate. that's the kind of community this is. >> reporter: community. like the man distributing free water. >> need water? >> reporter: and the women, workers at st. john's hospital, which is destroyed, but they loaded up a red pickup with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. >> we don't have a job, so, giving away sandwiches and bottled water, medicine. >> reporter: boy, you st. john's people are pretty amazing. look at this. we got the entire core out to help.
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>> well, our job has changed. >> reporter: and everywhere we walked, we found people searching. not for big things, but the little ones that mean everything. >> we're lucky this tree didn't land on us. >> reporter: we wandered into the house of amber karcher, who told us where she said prayers and held on for dear life. >> i was on my knees in the glass and just -- he was asleep and i woke him up and i just, like this. could have lost both of them. but we're alive. god saved us. >> reporter: jessie younger hid in her closet, all alone, in a little chair, holding the door shut. >> i held the door shut and prayed for it to soon be over. i took two brass bells with me that i had, and i thought that if i'm in there and i can't get the door open, i'm going to ring those bells when i hear somebody to let them know i'm in there.
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>> reporter: look at this. houses over on their side. trees decapitated, of course. here's a roof that's just out in the middle of a yard. and as we walk, that's what used to be the park. there was a dentist office. oh, look at the chair. there, the town pool. little bit of water left. that's it. this is the pharmacy and a filling station next to it before -- this is the pharmacy and that's what's left of the filling station next to it right now. and down the road, we saw a woman holding a tiny cat that had somehow survived in the rubble. a simple message painted outside her animal hospital. >> i got that. >> reporter: and there was one more woman we saw, trying to hold up an impossibly heavy beam, determined to find two things. the picture of her daughter, the picture of her son. look at that dimple.
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her daughter's was found, and then -- >> still married. >> reporter: a husband. she found the wedding certificate, too. and we were reminded of something we saw, a photograph, after sunday's storm. did you see it? a double rainbow, piercing the sky. in the words of one joplin resident, "hope shows up when there's no earthly reason for it. it shows up in rubble that used to be lives." and, by the way, so many of you have written us, speaking of hope, asking how you can help and we're told over and over again, they have enough food, they have enough immediate need right here but what they need, in the long-term, is donations, to help rebuild. and if you want to know how to do that, go to our website, abcnews.com/worldnews. more information on how to make sure your dollars actually get to joplin. and, still ahead on "world news," the plane that crashed in the middle of the ocean. a mystery, possibly solved tonight from the bottom of the
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sea. royal welcome. the president and first lady meet the world's most famous newlyweds. and, later, words for this battered city, from an american icon on his landmark day. [ woman ] welcome back jogging stroller. you've been stuck in the garage while i've been sneezing from the dust in here, and the pollen outside. but with 24-hour zyrtec®, i get prescription strength relief from my allergy symptoms. it's the brand allergists recommend most. ♪ lilly and i are back on the road again, where we belong. with zyrtec® i can love the air®. [ male announcer ] get up to $6 in savings on zyrtec® products at zyrtectv.com. the count on chevy event is here. your ticket to a cruze eco. 42 mpg and over 500 highway miles a tank.
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why did an air france jumbo jet suddenly plunge into the atlantic ocean, killing all 228 on board? the clues have been hidden on the bottom of the ocean. but tonight, we're getting some answers. what the flight recorders tell us happened, and here's lisa stark. >> reporter: the plane's black boxes found with the wreckage 13,000 feet below the ocean's surface reveal the pilot's actions may have ultimately caused the loss of control and the jet's plunge into the ocean. flight 447 had taken off from brazil, bound for paris. nearly four hours into the flight, at 35,000 feet, the crew apparently encountered heavy icing, which caused speed sensors to malfunction. that meant pilots were getting faulty and confusing speed readings. faced with a sudden emergency, with alarms likely sounding in the cockpit, the pilots, possibly confused, tried to diagnose the problem. abc news has confirmed the plane was still flyable, but that the
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pilots failed to do what was necessary to keep the jet in the air. they may have flown too slow, causing the plane to lose lift, and tumble out of the sky. >> at altitude, you don't have a lot of extra room, because the engines are producing just enough thrust to keep you there and you have a fairly small margin of where the nose can be tilted to maintain altitude. >> reporter: abc news has confirmed that the senior captain was out of the cockpit on a break when the emergency began. a german newspaper reports he rushed back in, shouting commands to the pilots flying the plane. the crew, though, had apparently not been trained to handle this exact emergency. the plane and the 228 on board crashed into the sea. lisa stark, abc news, washington. and when we come back, the obamas and the royals, together, n london.ght in london. but what hap you're about to retire?
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but on his trip to europe, he had a very different night tonight, in london with the royals at buckingham palace. and here's jake tapper. >> reporter: in white tie and tails, president obama toasted his hostess at buckingham palace this evening. >> to her majesty the queen, the vitality of the special relationship between our peoples. >> reporter: though the orchestra seemed to start just a tad early. the china dates as far back as 1787, when the two countries were not getting along so swimmingly. but that was then. >> we are here to celebrate the tried, tested and, yes, special relationship between our two countries. >> reporter: it was a welcome fit from a queen -- ♪ face-time with prince charles and the duchess of cornwall, and freshly back from their honeymoon, prince william and catherine. at westminster abbey, the president signed the guestbook, and jet-lagged perhaps, he wrote
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the date as the 24th of may, 2008. tomorrow, the real work begins, including a speech to parliament about how these two allies hope to team up to meet the challenges of a changing world. today, the teamwork was not so hot, as the president and prime minister cameron attempted a game of ping-pong with local students. but there were signs of hope. >> oh! >> reporter: and hopefully not their last. jake tapper, abc news, london. and, when we come back, some words from a legend in a time of so much loss here in joplin. ♪ hit the road, jack ♪ and don't you come back no more ♪ ♪ no more, no more, no more ♪ hit the road, jack ♪ and don't you come back no more ♪ [ male announcer ] want your weeds to hit the road? hit 'em with roundup extended control. one application kills weeds and puts down a barrier to stop new ones
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and finally from here in joplin, we want to remind you that terry moran will be on "nightline" later tonight, he will have the very latest on the possible tornadoes baring down yet again. but all day long, we've been thinking about the words that echo from a legend, bob dylan, who, believe it or not, is 70 years old today. and most of all, amid all this destruction, we kept thinking of one of his classics. so, we leave you, right now, with "shelter from the storm."
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♪ was in another lifetime ♪ one of toil and blood ♪ when the road was full of mud ♪ ♪ i came in from the wilderness ♪ ♪ a creature void of form ♪ come in ♪ she said i'll give you shelter from the storm ♪ ♪ and if i pass this way again ♪ you can rest assured ♪ i'll always do my best for her ♪ ♪ on that i give my word ♪ in a world of steel-eyed death ♪ ♪ and men who are fighting to be warm ♪ ♪ come in ♪ she said i'll give you shelter from the storm ♪ ♪ now there's a wall between us ♪ ♪ something there's been lost ♪ i took too much for granted ♪ i got my signals crossed ♪ just to think it all began on an uneventful morn ♪ ♪ come in
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♪ she said i'll give you shelter from the storm ♪ ♪ i'm living in a foreign country ♪ ♪ but i'm bound to cross the line ♪ ♪ beauty walks a razor's edge ♪ some day i'll make it mine ♪ if i could only turn back the clock ♪ ♪ to when god and her were born ♪ ♪ come in ♪ she said i'll give you shelter from the storm ♪ ♪ you a lawsuit is filed over the assault on a giants fan. tonight what his family says the l.a. dodgers should have done differently. >> pension show down in san jose city hall. being called wisconsin style union busting. >> cal state-sacramento, like all the other campuses, tuition
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could go up 32% next year. the school president met with governor brown to see if that could be avoided. >> later, the situation room, technology that will some day have a life saving payoff on the battlefield. >> good evening. things could not get worse at city hall. >> they're debating reforms and both sides are dig not guilty for a nasty fight. >> now more with the story. >> reporter: you have two very strong and sincere opinions on this issue. one saying it's significant pension reform isn't adopted, the city is on the road to bankruptcy. the other saying that the mayor's proposals are simply illegal and they're even asking the attorney general to investigate that. you add to the mix today a wisconsin senator who fired up the union faithful. >> san jose labor, are you

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